12 Aug Wilfried Zaha remains committed to Crystal Palace
Wilfried Zaha insists he had remained focused on and committed to Crystal Palace despite the growing doubts that surrounded his future towards the conclusion of the summer transfer window.
The forward again demonstrated not only his importance to his team when scoring their winning goal in Saturday’s 2-0 victory at Fulham but why his manager Roy Hodgson is also desperate to retain him.
He remains in talks with the club about improving the contract that presently commits him to them until 2022, and despite the interest of Premier League rivals and the transfer deadline meaning speculation has since stopped, he said: “It makes no difference to me, because I had my head down anyway.
“All that stuff was not going to affect me or how the team were playing. Whatever happens happens. But I’m all Palace – and you can see on the pitch that all I think about is the team doing well.
“We are still speaking about (a potential new contract), still negotiating, whatever. Just going to see if we can come to an agreement.
“The main thing for me is scoring goals. Everyone talks about ‘no end product, no end product’. Well, tell me now.”
The 25-year-old had been played through on goal by fellow Palace academy graduate Aaron Wan-Bissaka, who once again impressed.
Hodgson selected him to start the Premier League season ahead of the long-serving Joel Ward, and he said of his young full-back’s continued progress: “He’s very receptive to information. He’s very serious about his football. I’ve seen him get better over the last six months.
“How much better he can get, who knows but at the moment we’re more than happy with him because he’s doing everything we need him to do on the field and that’s proven against a team of Fulham’s quality.”
Wan-Bissaka, 20, consistently succeeded in nullifying the significant threat posed by Fulham’s Ryan Sessegnon, who echoed his manager Slavisa Jokanovic in insisting he and his team-mates would adapt to their new, ruthless environment following promotion from the Championship.
The 18-year-old Sessegnon also felt his team should have been awarded a penalty for Mamadou Sakho’s challenge on Andre Schurrle, and dismissed suggestions that the atmosphere at the club could be disrupted after they spent over £100million on new signings.
“The team that got us up, most players are still here, so we still have that team togetherness and it’s about building on that,” he said. “The players that have come in can only add to that and make the team stronger.
“The new signings are good. It’s going to be some time for it to gel, but the qualities that these new players can bring to the team – we’re just waiting.
“A lot of the players don’t speak English, but this team’s very together, so always helps the people that might not understand.”
Their attractive, expansive football was ultimately exposed by a more patient and experienced team, but Jokanovic said: “If you ask me will I park the bus in my box and try for 0-0, I don’t have this quality in my team.”